Warriors and Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba played a key role in former Vitesse Arnhem teammate and close friend Bertrand Traore’s decision to join the English Premier League side from French giants Olympic Lyon.
Villa, who survived relegation by a whisker last season and decided to strengthen their squad for this season, unveiled their latest acquisition on Friday.
The former Chelsea striker made a reported £19 million switch to become Villa’s fifth signing of the summer window following the arrivals of Emi Martinez, Ben Chrisene, Matty Cash and Ollie Watkins.
Traore, who hails from Burkina Faso, made mention of Nakamba, who is in his second season at Aston Villa, as one of the people who helped him arrive at the decision to join the premier league outfit.
“I played with JT (John Terry) at Chelsea, I spoke to him. I spoke to the manager, spoke with the sporting director as well and some players I used to play with — Nakamba and El Ghazi,” the 25-year-old Burkinabé said in his first interview on the club’s website.
“I spoke to Nakamba; I talked to him a little bit about the club. Many things made me take the decision to come here. I’m happy,” he said.
Traore and Nakamba (pictured below) became friends when they played together at Dutch Eredivisie side Vitesse in 2015 when the former was on loan from English giants Chelsea.
Back in the day Traore was an inspiration to Nakamba because he played for a big club in the English Premier League then and the two have been
reunited at Villa.
The capture of Traore could also be a major boost for Nakamba who is in his defining season for Villa and will be under pressure to impress coach Dean Smith following a drab debut campaign.
The Zimbabwean star is tipped among the players who may end up leaving the club before the October 5 transfer deadline.
With Smith expected to add a couple more players as the club continues its spending spree, players such as Nakamba, Henri Lansbury, Jota, Orjan Nyland, Mbwana Samatta and Lovre Kalinic are among those who could also leave.
Forward Scott Hogan became the first player to depart when he joined Birmingham City in a permanent deal, while Turkish giants Fenerbahce are reportedly keen on Samatta, but they face competition from premier league newcomers West Bromwich Albion.
Nakamba was heavily linked with a loan move to Turkish side Trabzonspor at the end of the Covid-19-interrupted league race a couple of months back.
The 26-year-old is believed to have made the decision to stay at Villa and fight for his place as he made an impressive start to the season playing a full match in the Carabao Cup win away at Burton Albion last week.
Last season Nakamba made 34 appearances for Aston Villa in all competitions and may not see as much action this season if he is lucky to stay.
Smith has made it clear that a number of players will have to leave the club for loan spells or permanent deals in this transfer window.
“Players will go, that is the nature of the game. If you bring players in, others have to leave.
“You can’t just stockpile players. But we know it is easy to spend people’s money and bring players in. It is harder to move players on,” he was quoted as saying by the British media.
Should he survive the chop, Nakamba will have to put up a far more convincing display whenever he is given a chance this season or risk becoming excess baggage at the premier league club.
Aston Villa open their 2020-2021 campaign against Sheffield United tomorrow.